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Infantino looking to restore FIFA credibility

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says it is the responsibility of the governing body to ensure the bidding process for future World Cups is “bullet-proof”.

The awards of the 2018 and 2022 events to Russia and Qatar have been tainted by allegations of corruption.

Infantino, who was elected FIFA boss last month, wants to begin bidding for the 2026 World Cup within three months.

Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino

“We have to get the 2026 bidding process absolutely right,” Infantino told BBC Sport.

“It’s certainly the commitment that I want to give; that I will do everything I can to make sure that this happens because I think that the credibility of FIFA is, as well, at stake here.

“We need to make sure that we do everything we possibly can, not only to prevent strange things to happen around bidding processes but also to prevent the perception that strange things could happen.

“We need to make sure that bidding process that we put in place is absolutely bullet-proof.”

Every World Cup bidding process since 1998 has been the subject of allegations of corruption and bribery.

The bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments is the subject of an ongoing Swiss criminal investigation, while there is also a US inquiry following the arrest and indictment of several top FIFA executives by the US Department of Justice on corruption charges.

In October last year, Blatter appeared to suggest there had been an agreement in place for Russia to host the event –– before the vote took place.

Today, a report into 2006 World Cup corruption allegations failed to completely rule out the possibility that a payment of 6.7m euros from the German football federation (DFB) to world governing body FIFA in April 2005 was used to buy votes.

Infantino, 45, was elected as FIFA chief following the suspension of predecessor Blatter, who had been in charge of the governing body since 1998.

Following his election, the former UEFA boss denied that promises to the United States over who would host the 2026 World Cup secured his election win.

He insisted it was now time to focus on making the next two World Cups a success.

“I am a pragmatic person,” he said. “Fifa needs to deliver two World Cups, one in two years and one in six years, for decisions which have been taken six years ago.

“There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of allegations but not one single fact, in six years. At some stage we have to say ‘let’s focus on working’. I want to work and help Russia and Qatar host the best World Cups ever, as we always say.”

Source: (BBC)

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